Three-dimensional printing is a hot item in the news lately. Tons of products are being created from the sophisticated desktop manufacturing devices, from toys to replacement eagle beaks. There are ongoing efforts to perfect the printing of replacement human organs.
In June, the College of Business and Economics purchased two 3-D printers for its students to utilize in their studies.
Wait. 3-D printers for business students?
"For our entrepreneurship students, it’s a resource they can use to create," explained Steve Childers, an associate professor in management. "They can build rapid prototypes with this machine. They can build something, get feedback and then have the ability to redesign and rebuild quickly."
COBE offers a degree in management with an entrepreneurship concentration designed to provide students with skill sets needed to effectively create and manage business opportunities.
Iain Clelland, also an associate professor in the Department of Management, said students will first use the printers in this fall’s Management 450 class, managing new venture creation.
"Students will be tasked within teams and will be creating products to test in terms of marketability, and they will use the printers," Clelland said, also noting that software training for the printer will be part of the course. The professor said future plans are to use the printers in marketing classes as well.
"Our focus is mostly in the areas of creativity, rapid prototyping, small market testing and small-batch manufacturing," said Clelland. "That’s the intent here: to expose the students to creativity, innovation and rapid productivity. This exposes students to the basic principles of those concepts."